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KT repairs 60% of damage from fire

South Korea's top fixed-line operator KT Corp. said Sunday it has repaired more than half of the network damage incurred from the fire that broke out in Seoul a day earlier.

"We have fixed 63 percent of the mobile network and 97 percent of the Internet lines, including credit card transactions," the company said.

A building of KT, the country's No. 2 mobile carrier, located in the central Ahyeon district of Seoul, caught fire around 11:12 a.m. on Saturday.

The fire was fully extinguished after 10 hours, and no casualties have been reported, although the property damage was estimated at 8 billion won ($7 million).


Following the incident, mobile and Internet networks in the area were stalled, causing inconvenience to users.

The operation of shops, such as convenience stores and restaurants in the area, was also disrupted as the fire paralyzed their credit card payment systems that use KT's communication network.

"Our workers tried to enter the building at 11:00 p.m. the previous day after the fire was fully extinguished, but the fire authority did not approve entering the building, citing safety issues," KT said, claiming it is currently making various efforts to normalize the network disruption.

Local fire authorities and KT anticipate that it may take a week to fully repair the affected network.

KT said it will make efforts to provide compensation to its users.

"Through cooperation with related authorities, we will prepare a plan to actively compensate individuals and shop owners who suffer damages," KT CEO Hwang Chang-gyu said.

Hwang added the company is currently carrying out an investigation with the fire authority to find out the cause of the fire.

"To prevent the outbreak of similar accidents, we will carry out safety inspections on all network facilities in the country," Hwang added.

KT said it plans to waive the amount of one month's bill for affected customers and vowed to prevent similar cases from occurring in the future.

The company said it will review measures to compensate small shop owners whose businesses were partly stopped due to network disruption. (Yonhap)